Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Tomorrow is my 60th birthday, and I decided to stop trying to please others all the time. In that spirit, I went back to a short haircut and I am just thrilled with it!
I do not know where I am headed with my painting/art, but it is not what I was doing.
Look out everyone, I have finally given myself permission to do/be and have what I want. Take it or leave it!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Botz sent me a WONDERFUL birthday package. Here are the remains of a delicious chocolate Eiffel Tower, and the note and envelope with all things french on them. I should have shot it before I ate the top off, but ... I am impulsive.
She sent it Express Mail "EXTREMELY URGENT!" ... (thank god we were home when it arrived!) so I bit the head off it instantly. Good choc!
Friday, May 26, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This is part of the view from St. Paul. I made this out of two photos, so you can see a seam, but you get the idea ... the Alpes Maritimes are visible on the right, those snow-capped mountains. Click on the photo to see a larger view of it, and the mountains are very clear.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
This fountain by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 - 2002) was at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, in Nice. They had several other pieces of hers as well. One of her strongest projects is her Tarot Garden, see my link "Niki de Saint Phalle".
Monday, May 22, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
From the top:
1. Santons from Cannes depicting a balloon vendor and a girl with a balloon
2. Book of Maurice Esteve's paintings in French from the Musee Luxembourg, with a tiny golden Eiffel Tower on it
3. A ceramic locust, for some reason the lucky animal of Nice
4. A candy tin from Nice
5. Matches from Le Mediterranee restaurant in Paris with Jean Cocteau drawings on it
In France I saw several clear toilet seats like this one. This has lovely seaside images in it. One in Paris was clear with bubbles, and I also saw one with a bright tropical image on the seat cover.
I wish I had the option of these seats here!
As you will remember if you know your World War II history, May 8th is what we Americans call "V.E. Day", or Victory in Europe Day, since we were still fighting in the Pacific at that time. In France, however, it is a VERY important day, because it was the day Europe was totally liberated from Nazi rule. The French still celebrate this day with a festival. In the mechanical bull ride photo, notice there is an American flag.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
At the Musee Luxembourg we saw a show of abstract paintings from the 40s and 50s. I had never heard of any of these painters, and that is saying something, as I have had AGES of art history!
One of them was Maurice Esteve, whose painting (??) I have reproduced here from a book of his work. I was impressed with his work and that of several other painters.
It is too bad that so many good painters seem to get lost in the art scene shuffle. I would love to have seen their work before, and I would think many other people would enjoy it as well.
Mont Ste. Victoire is one of the most famous mountains in the world because it was painted by Cezanne 87 times. However, this is a different view of the mountain, the eastern face. It rises out of a plain and dominates the landscape north of Aix (pronounced "ex" for those who don't speak French).
This photo was taken on the hill where Cezanne actually painted. You see here the mountain as it appears in his many, many paintings of it.
The beach at Nice is not sand but pebbles, smooth, grey and medium sized. That clearly does not stop people from lying on the beach. The color of the water changes of course, but on this day it was the most lovely pale aquamarine.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Apparently a lot of people in Paris commute using their motorbikes. This is just a taste of what we saw. It makes a lot of sense in a place where the cars are small and people drive very fast yet stop on a dime. Plus think of the gas mileage! Oh lala!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Continental breakfast on the continent ... ham, cheese, bread, croissants, pain chocolat, yogurt, yogurt drink, tea, coffee, cereal, milk, fruit. American hotels could learn a lot from this true continental spread.
Notice the wooden placemats!
Who needs exercise equipment when there is this little winding staircase? Our room was on the deuxieme etage, or in American, the third floor, so we used the stairs most of the time. The elevator was the size of a lavatory stall, and this was quicker and easier.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
He says, "You know that time works in the exact opposite way from the common perception of it ..."
I look up at the clock and the hands are pencils, one fat and one thin; the erasers are rubbing out the moments of time.
He gazes at me and asks, "Do you know how long until the ice slab returns?" rhetorical on his part I think. Somehow it seems the answer is 60 years.
"Where will you go when the time comes?"
I respond, "Somewhere high up; and a place that is not on the usual grid."
He nods; He says in a frightening manner, "We are on thin ice now."
I wake, disturbed.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Le Cannet was delightful and we ate lunch at what would be a convenience store in the US ... a tobacconist/snacks/bar/brasserie. They had a TINY TINY terrace out back, overlooking the hills and gardens of le Cannet, with beautiful potted plants. we had sandwichs (yes, their spelling) of jambon (half a baguette each) and Coca Lights (co-CAH). Even in the dark, smoke-filled shop/bar, friendly staff, attempts on both sides to speak the other language, and good food.
MONACO ... the other end of the train line (almost) ... in two trains that were both very clean and comfortable, with no drunkards in the next seat ... after traveling through an ENORMOUS mountain we arrived in the principality. --eh never again. It was ok; but Nice is much more fun and has a lot more going on. We are very demanding travelers.
Chez Hugo (read hotel restaurant) for dinner. The feet and legs are tired of hills now, and welcome a respite in elevators and the room. Decent meal, not memorable, but not bad either.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Luckily, here at l'hotel Splendid, the people are friendly and accommodating. They gave me a brochure for mini-bus tours to all sorts of destinations, many in Provence, and some outside, including one to the Italian Riviera. XLNT!
I miss everyone and am trying to get and send postcards to all of you.
Nice has the advantage of climate, history, charm ... the air is fresh; dry, but not too dry; the sea is a PALE azure, like an aquamarine, with the depths in the distance a deep royal blue. It resembles the Caribbean; but paler in color: luscious!
Salade de Poulpe (octopus) for lunch. This version of the salad I adore had tiny octopi (octopusses?), mixed field greens, slices of golden apple, onion, tomato ... and it was warm!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
BUT out the window, and we were seated in a window, was Notre Dame Cathedral; across the alleyway was a bar filled with young people in tight and belly-baring clothing, including a young woman bartender wearing a stetson hat tossing bartending paraphernalia in the air, all to the throb of drums and unrecognizable melodies.
Past us in the alley paraded people from all parts of the world, talking, staring, many wearing Converse All-Stars or their cheap imitations.
It was a marvelous experience, and I did not regret having had dinner there at all.
Inside the garden were many runners, and at l'Orangerie there were a few of the many many gendarmes we saw that day. next to l'Orangerie is the Musèe Luxembourg, where we saw an exhibit of abstract paintings from the 40s and 50s. Gorgeous, luscious paintings with abundant texture and various color schemes; many featured the black lines that were used a lot at that time.
That is it; I had forgotten these experiences until this evening, when we sat at a table outside a brasserie and watched people come and go as we drank mineral water and beer.
Motorbikes are everywhere in Paris; locked and parked, whizzing by at breakneck speed, almost all of them black with silver ornamentation. I did not expect them. There were also tiny electric cars into which I doubt I could even fit.
Lots of gendarmes on Monday for the rallies of BOTH the left and the far-right (combining gasoline and lit cigarettes, figuratively!). The police seemed prepared, but not blood-thirsty.
Monday we ate at La Mediterranèe Cafe, where we saw lots of Cocteau sketches on the walls. The food there was SUPERB. We have not had a bad meal yet, and of course, the bread is to die for!
Yesterday was the Grand Tour of Paris day (by bus), as well as the St. Germaine des Pres and Latin Quarter Tour. Then to top the day off, we took a Seine boat tour around sunset! All were beautiful.
Also yesterday, we ALMOST went to the Musèe d'Orsay, but they have a "blockbuster" show of Cezanne and Pissarro, and there was a horrible line. We, not being patient AT ALL, said forget this!
So far, Parisians have been kind, polite, friendly and helpful with NO sign of anti-American sentiment.
Saw "The Lacemaker", by Vermeer today in the Louvre. It is TINY! It seemed to be around 4" x 6" to my eye!!!
They had an Ingres retrospective there also, which was lovely. He certainly painted the most subtle, lovely skin ever, but his basic anatomy was shaky in some cases; we all know that odalisque looking over her shoulder had to have about three extra vertebrae; there was also a woman whose arm could NEVER have been in the position he shows without dislocating her shoulder!
Today after the Louvre we took the Montmartre bus tour. The area was trashy, with lots of peep shows and junky shops. We glimpsed Sacre Coeur between cheap shoe shops ... hmmmmm.
Tomorrow the TGV (tres grande vitesse, or bullet train) to Nice-- a six-hour ride (the theme from Gilligan's Island plays in my head ... remember the "three-hour tour"?).
We have walked so much it ALMOST makes up for the food ...